The effect of God’s power is that he is not impressed by human strength. And the effect of his greatness is that he is not impressed by human bigness. This is bad news for God’s competitors. But it is very good news for those who want to live by faith.
Psalm 147 is a thrilling statement of hope for people who enjoy God’s being God. It says that “he determines the number of the stars and gives them all their names” (v. 4). Now this is more than we can absorb! “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6).
The earth, where we live, is a small planet revolving around a star called the sun which has a volume 1,300,000 times the earth. There are stars a million times brighter than the sun. There are about a hundred billion stars in our galaxy called the Milky Way. It is 100,000 light years across. (A light year is six million million miles.) The sun travels about 155 miles per second and so would take 200 million years to make a single revolution in the Milky Way. There are millions of other galaxies besides ours.
Psalm 147 says that God determined the number of all the stars. Not only that, it says that he named them all. Sort of like naming hamsters or puppies or bunnies. You look them over, note their distinctives and then think up something to call them that fits. I smiled with great satisfaction last Sunday when we sang,
His law He enforces:
The stars in their courses,
The sun in His orbit
Yes, I thought, “obediently” is just the right word! The sun has a name in God’s mind. He calls it by name and tells it what to do. It obeys. And so do the trillions of other stars. (As well as all the electrons in all the molecules of the elements of the stars and planets, including the ones in the gills of the dog fish beneath the rock off Providence, Rhode Island.)
Now what would impress a God like this? Psalm 147:10-11 tells us very plainly.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man;
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Imagine some Olympic weight lifter feeling proud that he picked up 500 pounds. Or imagine some scientist feeling proud that he figured out how some molecule is affected by another one. It takes no genius to know that God is not impressed.
The good news for those who enjoy God’s being God is that he enjoys those who hope in his immeasurable power. O, may the truth grip us this advent season, that God is God and that he works omnipotently for those who wait for him (Isaiah 64:4) and hope in him (Psalm 147:11) and love him (Romans 8:28). He loves to be God for the childlike, who look to him for all they need.
Standing in awe of God,